By Jonathan Bilyk
pubished January 8, 2020
Two third-party litigation financing companies have been targeted by class actions, accusing them of “loan sharking” and issuing illegal loans.
On Jan. 6, attorney Daniel J. Voelker, of Chicago, filed two lawsuits on behalf of two different named plaintiffs, taking aim at prominent lawsuit financiers Oasis Legal Finance and E-Z Case Loans.
The lawsuits center on the lenders’ alleged practices surrounding loans for people pressing workers’ compensation claims for injuries allegedly sustained while on the job.
Oasis and E-Z each specialize in providing loans to people seeking to bring personal injury and workers’ comp lawsuits. The loans act as an advance on court awards or settlements the plaintiffs expect to receive from their cases.
“Behind on your bills? Waiting for your case to settle? Let EZ Case Loans help,” reads copy on E-Z’s website.
“Life won’t wait for your settlement. Neither should you,” reads copy on Oasis Legal Finance’s website.
According to the lawsuits, however, each of the companies allegedly “preys upon persons who have been injured on the job and are in the midst of a dispute with their employer” and then charges those taking out their settlement anticipation loans “outrageous and unlawful interest rates.”
“Litigation funding is one of the newest areas of loan sharking by some unscrupulous lenders … seeking to make excessive profits by making unlawful loans to vulnerable persons in need of short-term funding to survive during the pendency of litigation,” the plaintiffs assert in their nearly identical lawsuits.
According to the complaints, both Kaplan and Wilczak each took out a loan from their respective lenders for $1,000, with an annual interest rate beginning at 36%.
“However, as the loan was due upon the settlement of the underlying workers’ compensation claim or action if the proceeds or payment was made (by the plaintiffs) sooner than one year, the interest rate charged (by Oasis or E-Z) could potentially be as high as 13,140%, or as low as 36%,” the plaintiffs said in their complaints.
According to the lawsuits, the litigation lenders require borrowers to sign over an amount equal to the loan, plus interest, of any award they may receive from their workers’ comp actions.